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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written Classic Horror Novel
As I continue to swim the seas of horror on kindle, very little really grabs me. Some of the ideas are excellent, but often the skill level of the writing does not match the imagination of the author. I am happy to report that Jan Strnad's "Risen" has both a great idea and the smooth, professional prose to pull off an exciting traditional horror tale that should appeal...
Published on October 12, 2010 by D. Sippel

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, though rather unspectacular, addition to Zombie genre
Three and a half stars would be more like it because Knight does do a good job with character development, with the exception of maybe the lead protagonist, Seth. But I digress!

As earlier reviewers have noted, "Risen" reminded me a LOT of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Like a lot of writers, I'm sure that the book and film adaptation of that 1950's story...
Published on September 1, 2004 by coachtim


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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written Classic Horror Novel, October 12, 2010
By 
D. Sippel "Rocker" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Risen: A Supernatural Thriller (Kindle Edition)
As I continue to swim the seas of horror on kindle, very little really grabs me. Some of the ideas are excellent, but often the skill level of the writing does not match the imagination of the author. I am happy to report that Jan Strnad's "Risen" has both a great idea and the smooth, professional prose to pull off an exciting traditional horror tale that should appeal to the majority of horror readers.

I've read that the concept reminded a reader of the very good film Dead and Buried, or even Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Strnad takes the idea of not knowing who is 'us' and who is 'them' and fully makes it his own. Rather than push the hardcore gore or sex envelope, "Risen" relies more on action, suspense, and characters you care about to tell a tale that could sit alongside the older work of King or Koontz.

The pacing did seem to slow slightly in the middle, and while mostly satisfying, the ending wasn't much of a surprise, but the storytelling skill evident throughout and a great kindle price (currently $2.39), make this an easy recommendation to all readers looking for a really solid horror/thriller.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Horror Tale is BACK!, June 26, 2010
By 
Keith E. Hammer (Ravensdale, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Risen: A Supernatural Thriller (Kindle Edition)
I recently saw a Kindle novel titled Risen recently and got my hopes up it was the one by Jan Strnad I had read several years ago. It wasn't. And now this morning I see it is available again - and on Kindle. Snagged it right away. It is worth reading again! Excellent Supernatural tale not to be missed. Well written, great cast of characters and very engaging storyline.

Here is a synopsis: Welcome to Anderson. It's pretty quiet here and that's the way we like it. One thing, though. Madge Duffy murdered her husband John last week, or thought she did. She spent the night in jail but then John walked out of the morgue none the worse for wear. And there's a bullet hole in Deputy Haws' shirt that he can't explain. Something's going on in this town of ours. Something that makes your skin crawl and your teeth grind in the night. I don't know what it is, but I'll tell you this: It scares me.

I have been reading horror since the 1970s and like most folks I appreciate an an excellent well-told horror tale, in the vein of the great horror writers of our generation (Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton, F. Paul Wilson, James Herbert, etc . . . ), this one ranks with some of their best for pure entertainment.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombies According To Seth, March 22, 2004
By 
Joshua Koppel (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Risen (Paperback)
The dead are rising but this is not a typical zombie story. These risen are better than new and go back to their old lives. The phenomenon is also quite local, occurring in the small town of Anderson.
One night an abused wife kills her husband and the deputy is accidentally shot. The woman's husband returns to life and forgives her. The town is aghast. The deputy returns to life but only his accidental killers knew he was dead. Why is he keeping it secret?
We follow a reporter, the woman he is most interested in, and her young son as they all become involved in the strange events going on in the town. They come to suspect that there may be more risen in town than those they know.
The risen return to life, many in secret, and all become devoted to Seth. Seth is the one who led them back to life. Seth has a plan. Seth is in charge and is not questioned as Seth's motives are his own.
This is a very interesting tale. I enjoyed it quite a lot but would have like just a little more information. Maybe a little more about who or what Seth is. Maybe an explanation on why some of the deaths are handled they way they are or why some are left for later. These details could have made a good book into a great book.
If you like creepy horror books where the action keeps escalating and keeps you guessing, then you will probably really enjoy this one. But if you want one that is gorier, you should try The Rising by Brian Keene.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had no business liking this book, but I did., June 13, 2011
This review is from: Risen: A Supernatural Thriller (Kindle Edition)
I don't like horror stories. I don't watch slasher films, I don't like gore, and I don't like haunted houses.

What I do like is a well told and interesting story, and that's what I found here.

Read the description. Does it sound a bit like Garrison Keillor talking about a disturbing version of Lake Woebegone?

Or maybe more like an episode of the Andy Griffith Show, if it were written by Stephen King.

That's the feeling I got, and it stayed with me through the book.

There was not too much in 'Risen' that I found too horrific. Certainly some creepiness, certainly some disturbing scenes, and a few that made wonder what kind of trauma the author has suffered to think of this stuff. But nothing that made me afraid to turn the light out, or that made me jump at every noise in the night.
Instead I got characters I cared about, and a story I wanted to finish reading.

That's good by me.

I'm glad I didn't know too much about this book going in. I might not have given it shot.
I'm not going to say I finished reading with a smile on my face. No way...it's not that kind of book... but I'm glad I read it.

Well written, and the handful of typos and errors stood out mostly because they were not many, like a few small black marks on a clean white wall.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, though rather unspectacular, addition to Zombie genre, September 1, 2004
By 
coachtim (Indiana, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Risen (Paperback)
Three and a half stars would be more like it because Knight does do a good job with character development, with the exception of maybe the lead protagonist, Seth. But I digress!

As earlier reviewers have noted, "Risen" reminded me a LOT of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Like a lot of writers, I'm sure that the book and film adaptation of that 1950's story had an impact on J. Knight. "Risen" revolves around a quiet "typical American small town" called Anderson. Not much happens there. So when a distraught and battered wife takes the law into her own hands and murders her abusing husband, it becomes big news. Big only until it is overshadowed by the return from the dead of her murdered husband. At first, everyone in town blames the doctor for a botched autopsy. Even the doctor begins to question his ability and sanity.

It's only after a few more murders (taken rather lightly by the populace, by the way) and a few more "risings" that things really begin to take off with plot. Knight, as I mentioned before, does do a fine job introducing and developing characters that become somewhat memorable. He also pours on the gore as he graphically describes the manner in which the townspeople begin to systematically knock each other off "so they can be with Seth".

Knight nevers really gives a full explanation of Seth and his importance to the plot. Seth appears to be some sort of Anti-Christ that can only reappear with some help from the common folk. Oh sure, there's a vague connection between an earlier Seth appearance years before, but not much else.

Another criticism that I have of Knight's writing style is the annoying way of going through a "scene" and then repeating the scene once again but through the eyes of another character. It took me one or two of these "scenes" to realize what he was doing. It was repetitious filler and nothing else.

The book weighs in at a little over 400 pages, with a plot that could have lasted about 300. It's definitely a fast read though. And if the reader is a fan of the Zombie genre', then he or she will probably want to add "Risen" to their "wanna read" list. Just don't expect anything new!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Americana Horror, August 10, 2000
By 
J. HUFF (PIONEERTOWN, CALIFORNIA United States) - See all my reviews
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Alfred Hitchcock in "Hitchcock/Truffaut" talks of a story idea he tried and never adequately mastered. Its premise: what would we do if our dead loved ones returned to this life? Hitchcock abandoned the idea because he never found a satisfying story development for it. Jan Strnad's RISEN deals with the same premise and conquers it mightily. What would we do if our loved ones (and not so loved ones) came back? Strnad's relentless examination is breathlessly paced, gnawingly thoughtful and populated with an array of characters we can love, hate, fear - and fear for. To this Americana horror he adds an observant humor that is as wicked as a paper cut. Strnad the sensualist is always on the prowl too: The smell of a Methodist church, the many contortions of dying, the feeling of the Void, the psyche of aimless teens, the crustiness of aged bodies, the palpable fear of impossible horror grinning you in the face. Come to the small average town of Anderson and meet the RISEN. It will be hard to get them out of your mind. A must-read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling novel!, August 10, 2000
Risen is a chilling novel that left the hairs on my arms stand on end. It kept me biting my thumbnails long after I turned the last page! What happens when a woman takes revenge on her abusive husband by murdering him? He is risen from the dead by a dark force ready to take over the town of Anderson in Cooves County. Reporter Brant Kettering and rebellious teen, Tom Culler realize there is something evil lurking in this close-knit town. First one is risen, then another, and another. They can't trust a soul, but must discover the truth before the entire town has "Risen." Does immortality have a price? How can you defeat something that can keep coming back, night after night? Jan Strnad's descriptive voice is first-rate. This literally nail-biting novel kept me turning page after page, each filled with plenty of action and horror. Could this actually happen? If so, would we ever know? I can't wait to see this one on the big screen! This is one of the more exciting E-books I have read. Many kudos to Mr. Strnad.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read!, October 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Risen: A Supernatural Thriller (Kindle Edition)
This story is a fun read, especially if you like horror/thriller novels. The storyline is clever and engaging, and overall I enjoyed it. I am not sure if this is an early work of the author's, though, as there were a couple of aspects of the writing that detracted from the story. The pacing at times was erratic, which I think was the biggest thing that caused my reading to lose momentum (literally and figuratively). The other thing that I noticed was that the use of humor was not consistent. Otherwise, the content of the plot, and the characters and their storylines were well-conceived and engaging. It was a fun read, especially in the run up to Halloween. Note that this novel does not have sustained amounts of graphic horror, unlike other somewhat similar authors such as Jeff Strand and J.A. Konrath/Jack Kilborn. If you like those stories (I love them) but want a story that is a little bit lighter on the gore and a little bit more tasteful on the humor, then this will be a great choice for you. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book, especially given how affordable it is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Risen, August 11, 2011
By 
Mrs. A. Greig (Spetses, Greece) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Risen: A Supernatural Thriller (Kindle Edition)
Good old fashioned horror with the undead taking over a small out of the way town.
Not too gruesome and wittily written. A good read that shouldn't stop you sleeping.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SFReader.com Review - Risen, June 11, 2004
By 
David L. Felts "thesfreader" (Palm Harbor, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Risen (Paperback)
Risen, by J. Knight, is an ebook that did so well and generated enough buzz that it caught the attention of a traditional publisher and is now being released in mass market paperback. It starts with a simple enough premise: the dead coming back to life. Not as zombies al la Day of the Dead, but as seemingly-normal, except that are all now in thrall to a being they refer to as Seth.
It starts slowly enough, a person here and there, but like any epidemic, it rapidly gains momentum, as those brought back by Seth become his recruiters. And the only way to recruit for Seth is to kill.... All the residents of the small town of Anderson are threatened, and if Anderson falls to Seth, what's next? Caught up in the middle of this are Brant Kettering, editor and publisher of the local newspaper, Tom Culler, a high-school senior, and his mother Peg, a waitress at the town's diner. Will they be able to find out who'd at the source of these resurrections, or will they too become soldiers in Seth's army? There are a host of very well done minor characters as well that add a great deal to the 'thickness' of the story.
Knight writes with the assurance and confidence of a seasoned pro. As I read, I was reminded of some of my previous favorites: Boy's Life, Stinger, and The Wolf's Hour (by Robert McCammon) and Salem's Lot and The Stand by Stephen King. What distinguished these stories for me, and what distinguishes Knight's Risen, is the attention paid to the characters, major and minor both.
Some books are almost magic in their ability to enthrall. They aren't stories; they are the lives of people. We don't read to see where the story goes, we read to see what happens to the people the author has created. Knight's characters are as well-realized as any you will find in the genre. They distinguish themselves by their actions, motivations and goals. We can sympathize with them. We know people like them. We root for some, feel sorry for others, and wish some would die. That's the true appeal of Knight's book--a chance to read a tale that makes you care about the people in it, that makes you feel as though you know them.
It's not perfect, however. There are a few writing gaffs that poked me in the eye from time to time, though less that one might expect in a first book. Ending some verbs in 'ing' for example, that results in some simultaneous actions that can't be simultaneous (I've remarked in this in other reviews). In some places, I thought it a little wordy. Not enough to completely stop the story, but enough to bog it down. Overall, lest I sound too critical of Knight's craft, let me say that the writing here is equal to any you'll find in the genre.
There are also a few problems with plot. In his efforts to keep a major plot point hidden, Knight might keep it a bit too hidden. When finally revealed it wasn't with the virtually smacking of the hand on the forehead and the exclamation 'That makes perfect sense! I should have seen it coming!' It was more like 'Hmmm. That never occurred to me....' The misdirection in relation to said plot point was such that I had already recognized it for what it was. So that part of the tale didn't work as well as it should. The ending, while a logical extension of events, was somewhat nihilistic.
If you're a fan of King's older stories, or have read and enjoyed McCammon, King, Saul, or some of Koontz's older (but not tool old!) stuff, I can heartily recommend Risen. When you turn the final page, you're going to be disappointed, but only because the story has ended.
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Risen: A Supernatural Thriller
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